Windsor

Should Windsor spend $3M for a Christmas display in Jackson Park?

The proposal goes to city council Monday night, outlining early plans to transform the area with hundreds of brightly lit trees, food trucks and sleigh rides.

Plan calls for sleigh rides, food trucks, carollers and hundreds of brightly lit trees

Windsor city council will consider investing $3 million to turn Jackson Park into a signature holiday display. In this Dec. 14, 2016, photo, a man and his child pass Christmas decorations in Brooklyn. (The Associated Press)

Coun. Rino Bortolin and long-time political activist Paul Synnott discuss the contentious proposal to spend $3 million on a massive Christmas display at Jackson Park this holiday season. 

The proposal goes to city council Monday night, outlining early plans to transform the area with hundreds of brightly lit trees, food trucks and sleigh rides.  

Mayor Drew Dilkens recently defended his idea for the project.

"This is not something that I want … to be a mediocre type event. I really want it to be well done," Dilkens said. "I want people to be very impressed and proud of their community."

Bortolin likes the idea of a signature holiday light display that would be used from the start of December and into January, but he says the cost puts the plan low on his priority list. 

Long-time political blogger Paul Synott questions the type of spending for the display, saying there are many other areas the city could spend the money. 

"I'm not a Grinch or anything else ... but the amount is kind of staggering," he said. "At the very least, this should be going to this year's budget (discussions) and be determined with all the other priorities in the city."

Staff suggested funding come from several sources: 

  • $1,000,000 from 2017 Enwin special dividend
  • $400,000 from the Windsor World Junior Hockey bid placeholder
  • $500,000 anticipated surplus from 2017 OLG funding
  • $1,100,000 from 2014 enhanced capital budget placeholder funding for new city hall parking garage 

Because of the high costs, staff suggested the city find partnerships with corporate sponsors or business improvement associations in order to fund the massive project.